I know that some may be wondering how on earth Mr. Lively popped the question. Though he scheduled a very sweet post here on MML that went live right as he was asking me to marry him, how he did it in real life is still a bit of a mystery for many.
And though I could go on about the dozens of roses, candles, song he played, and the driver picking us up for Blackbird to celebrate afterward… that’s not really the full story.
You see, he really unofficially “proposed” back in February.
And that’s the story that really should be shared.
So let’s go back to the winter and I’ll tell the story from there, shall we?
Back during the winter Mr. Lively and I were just past celebrating our one year anniversary and were in a period of time where we were deciding whether the relationship was going to go the distance.**
Though nothing had to be decided in that moment, I knew that given our relationship’s pace, it was likely that we were either going to move in together in the fall or go our separate ways if we decided that we weren’t going to be together long into the future.
And all of the uncertainty at that point in time had me worried and unsure. When I envisioned myself the following Febraury, I wasn’t sure if I was planning on being single or theoretically on my way down the aisle.
This also influenced how I felt about my career vision as well. Living with him and getting married affected how I viewed what I would be doing in my career, to some degree. And all of the fuzziness made me feel lost.
As we at lunch on Southport one Saturday afternoon, these nagging worries were in the back of my mind.
Though I didn’t want to be proposed to immediately, I really wanted to know if he was going to get on that page or not.
I remember vividly that I stood in The Southport Grocer’s bathroom that day giving myself a pep talk.
“Jess, he’s only going to want to be with you forever if you are in a good, positive place. He’s got to see you at your best in order for him to love you that way. You’ve got to be a happy, complete person before he’s going to really know that you are the woman he wants to be with for the rest of his life. Chin up and
be act happy!!”
But regardless of my positive self-talk, my mood remained pensive.
As we returned home on the bus, I shared how I was feeling unsure about my career in the future. And eventually as he listened to how I was feeling, I also alluded to the fact that it was in part about our own uncertain future as well.
By that point, we had reached his apartment and I had taken my boots off and laid on his bed, pretty much in the fetal position.
I was not the Happy Jess I was hoping to be, let me tell you.
As I laid there and he stroked my hair, out of seemingly no where he declared that he did want to marry me, that he would talk to my friend Emily about the ring, and that he would propose in the summer before we moved in with each other.
All of the sudden my life looked completely different.
The funny part? I actually was still in my fuzzy, unhappy mood. Just because he made his decision, my roller coaster of emotions did not automatically jump to the heights it became eventually. It was such a shock to me that he decided there, that it took about an hour to set in.
He chose me.
When I was feeling yucky.
He chose to be with me when I was NOT the most confident, collected, whole, happy, sexy, etc. Jess.
He chose to be with me regardless of whether I was on the top of the world or not.
Instead of loving me unconditionally because I seemed perfect at the time, he decided to love me unconditionally when I wasn’t anywhere near perfect-seeming.
And that means the world to me.
As Oprah has said, “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
He was there for me, ready to be with me forever because he decided that is what he wants. Period.
When I’m feeling up or down, he’s ready to be there next to me. Stroking my hair and telling me everything is going to be okay.
And as they say, the rest is history.
From then on, we began to plan our intention for our future and have been doing it ever since.
So though the “official” engagement was very sweet, nothing will compare to the love and acceptance that he demonstrated that dreary, February afternoon.
I didn’t have to be charming for my prince to propose, after all.
** When Mr. Lively and I first started dating, I was honest with him and told him right up front (not quite immediately, but within the first week or two) that I wanted to get married one day and was looking for a relationship that could lead to that outcome. He agreed that if we ever came to a point where we didn’t see this working out for the long haul, we would end the relationship and wish each other well.